Building the Future
Now that 2012 is well and truly underway we are excited to let you know what we have planned for the 5th year of Pirates of the Burning Sea.
Philosophically, we have two main goals:
- Increase the immersion of the game by trying to bring more elements of the early 18th century.
- Layer the game in a way that will improve the game experience for all the different kinds of players we have in our community, (e.g. casual, hardcore, PvE only, PvP only, etc.).
There are sure to be some growing pains to as we work to achieve these goals, but we are confident we can maintain the core elements that established PotBS as the game our veteran players know and at the same time craft a more welcoming experience for new players.
So with our goals established here’s an overview of what we envision for the next year:
The Near Future
2.10 will be the first milestone build for 2012, and will include Society Warehouses! Societies will be able to build warehouses in multiple ports to facilitate the sharing of items between society members. This has been in the works for a long time, and we are very excited to add this feature to the game.
Other major features planned for 2.10:
- The addition of another new ship the Peregrine frigate.
- A first pass cleaning up ship outfittings – we will begin to reduce the number of redundant or unused outfittings
- Introduction of ship combat level – group strength will use a ship’s combat level in order to better account for a ship’s actual combat strength rather than simply using the level required to captain it.
1st and 2nd Rate Ships of the Line
Another huge feature planned for the early part of the year is the reintroduction of 1st and 2nd rate ships-of-the-line. Yes, you read that correctly.
It is important to note that we are not simply restoring the old first rate recipes to the game, nor are we keeping the ships the same as they were before they were removed; these will be brand new recipes and the ships that they create will be new as well. Any 1st and 2nd rate ships that still remain in the game from before they were removed will be nerfed to compensate for their lack of scarcity, and the new recipes will be introduced in a manner that allows us greater control and oversight regarding their total number in game.
We are of course aware that the previous iterations of these ships had all sorts of problems related both to their relative strength and their over-abundance, and we have spent a lot of time in recent months working out ways to overcome these issues as part of a larger overall plan to rebalance most of the ships in the game. We will update you with more information when we are closer to releasing them back into the wild.
On the Horizon
2.11 will include a lot of economic changes. Most of these changes will involve bringing in some historical elements we feel are necessary to improve overall game play such as a greater distinction in production costs for true military warships compared to civilian merchant ships and those that fall in between. They also involve changes to upkeep and the introduction of new trade elements to the game that will move the economy beyond being purely geared toward ship and consumables production.
One byproduct of these changes is that there will most likely be a greater emphasis on the transportation of goods (i.e. hauling). We understand that for many players this isn’t their favorite component of the economy which means there will be a lot of pressure on us to improve this segment of the game. Since this activity is for the most part exclusively an Open Sea activity we intend to put more focus on making the Open Sea more interactive by re-visiting NPC interaction, creating different levels of risk and reward in transport and in particular an attempt to revisit the entire sinking/surrendering mechanics. Ultimately this will involve re-examining OS PvP rewards with an end goal of having an Open Sea with more action beyond that currently found only in the red.
Over the Horizon
Most of the previously mentioned development goals we have are all geared toward setting the stage for the one item we feel is the most important item on our list of goals for 2012 a complete overhaul of the Conquest system. We feel that while the system functions in its current state it doesn’t function as well as it could, and often leaves many players dissatisfied either by their inability to participate in a meaningful way or in a consistent one. This is a critical issue as we agree with many of our players that Conquest is intended to be the end game and long term playability in PotBS is dependent on it being fun.
It’s difficult to give a comprehensive list of everything we’re going to do in 2012 because things often change as we work through the design and implementation. Some things might get dropped in favor of other ideas that we don’t even know about yet. So bear that in mind when you read the following tentative list of features we plan to work on this year:
- Improved tutorials to help new players better understand the game mechanics.
- Improved in-game communication tools to help compensate for the fact that we have so many players from so many parts of the world speaking so many different languages.
- More work to improve Avcom and boarding action in game.
- A culling and cleanup of Avcom gear similar to 2.10’s changes to ship outfittings.
- A revamp of the Captain skill sets to feature fewer “magical” skills and more focus on tactical crew and ship management.
- A revision of the port battle invite and port governance systems.
- Some form of representation of the Crown for each National faction.
- Related to above a Royal Navy structure for each National faction.
- A true Privateer system with actual letters of marque.
- A redefinition of the pirate role in RvR. This is the most ambitious and difficult goal we can envision. It might not be possible but it is something the entire dev team would like to see happen if it can.
- And last but not least, we deeply want to improve the value of our Captain’s Club memberships. More than likely this will come in the form of exclusive segments of game features that are accessible only to active Captain’s Club members.
Each one of these items will be fuel for lots of interesting conversations both internally and also with you on our forums. Through the development process for these desired features and modifications we will continue with our roundtable discussions to gather feedback and ideas. We look forward to the coming year’s challenges as we continue the ongoing saga that is Pirates of the Burning Sea.
- Fodderboy – Producer, Pirates of the Burning Sea